Thursday, January 12, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Janet Taylor

Retention, oil on canvas
Janet Taylor is a high school art teacher with a long history of working as a fine artist and scenic artist in New York and Chicago.  She works in a range of mediums, but her paintings focus on unusual portraits and abstractions in oils.  Janet began oil painting in an after school art program in the 4th grade, and even though it was frustrating at the time, oils became her love and she pursused a degree in art in college.

Janet says that "a quality brush makes all the difference in [her] art".  A cheaper, wiry brush just doesn't do the work justice, but with the right tool, Janet's work can have both smooth, soft translucent layers as well as thick, heavy heaps of oil without having scratchy texture through the strokes.  At least, this is how Janet works now, but she says that at the time, working as a scenic artist in film and theatre, sometimes a work would call for a brush that was frayed and could scratch up a surface to age it or create texture.  For her fine art, though, she requires a brush that is sensitive to her medium of choice, and one that has staying power.

Since Janet has worked in so many mediums, she has purchased numerous brushes for all sorts of uses, collecting the brushes that work best for whatever medium she is focusing on at the time, or whatever school project she is developing for her students.  However, in oils, she work with stiff, long handled bristle brushes for the abstract pieces and rather soft hair brushes for her portraits. For more of her abstract work, Janet sticks to short bristled, long-handled brushes from 1" to 3". 

Janet compares brush buying to finding the right pair of jeans.  "Sometimes you have to try on 30 pairs before finding that comfy Saturday jean that fits like it was meant for you."  For new artists or brush buyers, she suggests trying a lot of brushes, in different styles but lower price ranges, knowing that most brushes will have a specific role or work for one medium better than another.  She says, "I have such a variety of brushes from softness, to synthetic, to natural, to long bristle, short bristle, rounded, square. . . each one has a role in my artwork suited for the specific technique or medium I'm working with or effect I'm trying to achieve."

To find out more about Janet, check out her website.


Keep Painting,
Karyn

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.